jm + democracy   7

The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked | Technology | The Guardian

A map shown to the Observer showing the many places in the world where SCL and Cambridge Analytica have worked includes Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Iran and Moldova. Multiple Cambridge Analytica sources have revealed other links to Russia, including trips to the country, meetings with executives from Russian state-owned companies, and references by SCL employees to working for Russian entities.

Article 50 has been triggered. AggregateIQ is outside British jurisdiction. The Electoral Commission is powerless. And another election, with these same rules, is just a month away. It is not that the authorities don’t know there is cause for concern. The Observer has learned that the Crown Prosecution Service did appoint a special prosecutor to assess whether there was a case for a criminal investigation into whether campaign finance laws were broken. The CPS referred it back to the electoral commission. Someone close to the intelligence select committee tells me that “work is being done” on potential Russian interference in the referendum.

Gavin Millar, a QC and expert in electoral law, described the situation as “highly disturbing”. He believes the only way to find the truth would be to hold a public inquiry. But a government would need to call it. A government that has just triggered an election specifically to shore up its power base. An election designed to set us into permanent alignment with Trump’s America. [....]

This isn’t about Remain or Leave. It goes far beyond party politics. It’s about the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world.
elections  brexit  trump  cambridge-analytica  aggregateiq  scary  analytics  data  targeting  scl  ukip  democracy  grim-meathook-future 
10 weeks ago by jm
Rule by Nobody
'Algorithms update bureaucracy’s long-standing strategy for evasion.'
The need to optimize yourself for a network of opaque algorithms induces a sort of existential torture. In The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy, anthropologist David Graeber suggests a fundamental law of power dynamics: “Those on the bottom of the heap have to spend a great deal of imaginative energy trying to understand the social dynamics that surround them — including having to imagine the perspectives of those on top — while the latter can wander about largely oblivious to much of what is going on around them. That is, the powerless not only end up doing most of the actual, physical labor required to keep society running, they also do most of the interpretive labor as well.” This dynamic, Graeber argues, is built into all bureaucratic structures. He describes bureaucracies as “ways of organizing stupidity” — that is, of managing and reproducing these “extremely unequal structures of imagination” in which the powerful can disregard the perspectives of those beneath them in various social and economic hierarchies. Employees need to anticipate the needs of bosses; bosses need not reciprocate. People of color are forced to learn to accommodate and anticipate the ignorance and hostility of white people. Women need to be acutely aware of men’s intentions and feelings. And so on. Even benevolent-seeming bureaucracies, in Graeber’s view, have the effect of reinforcing “the highly schematized, minimal, blinkered perspectives typical of the powerful” and their privileges of ignorance and indifference toward those positioned as below them.
algorithms  bureaucracy  democracy  life  society  via:raycorrigan  technology  power 
11 weeks ago by jm
Build a Better Monster: Morality, Machine Learning, and Mass Surveillance

We built the commercial internet by mastering techniques of persuasion and surveillance that we’ve extended to billions of people, including essentially the entire population of the Western democracies. But admitting that this tool of social control might be conducive to authoritarianism is not something we’re ready to face. After all, we're good people. We like freedom. How could we have built tools that subvert it?

As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

I contend that there are structural reasons to worry about the role of the tech industry in American political life, and that we have only a brief window of time in which to fix this.
advertising  facebook  google  internet  politics  surveillance  democracy  maciej-ceglowski  talks  morality  machine-learning 
april 2017 by jm
The Violence of Algorithms: Why Big Data Is Only as Smart as Those Who Generate It
The modern state system is built on a bargain between governments and citizens. States provide collective social goods, and in turn, via a system of norms, institutions, regulations, and ethics to hold this power accountable, citizens give states legitimacy. This bargain created order and stability out of what was an increasingly chaotic global system. If algorithms represent a new ungoverned space, a hidden and potentially ever-evolving unknowable public good, then they are an affront to our democratic system, one that requires transparency and accountability in order to function. A node of power that exists outside of these bounds is a threat to the notion of collective governance itself. This, at its core, is a profoundly undemocratic notion—one that states will have to engage with seriously if they are going to remain relevant and legitimate to their digital citizenry who give them their power.
palantir  algorithms  big-data  government  democracy  transparency  accountability  analytics  surveillance  war  privacy  protest  rights 
june 2015 by jm
South Korean spymaster had a team posting political comments on Twitter and rigging polls
Mad stuff. The South Korean National Intelligence Service directly interfering in a democratic election by posting fake comments and rigging online polls
web  polls  twitter  social-media  psyops  korea  south-korea  nis  sock-puppets  democracy 
february 2015 by jm
Who is my TD?
very nice single-purpose site -- figure out who represents any given Irish postal address
td  ireland  web  democracy  tds  dail 
april 2013 by jm
Atheist Ireland Publishes 25 Blasphemous Quotes
in protest against the Fianna Fail religious right's ludicrous new blasphemy law
blasphemy  ireland  law  legal  censorship  democracy  atheism  religion  quotes  from delicious
january 2010 by jm

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